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Kenworth improves fuel efficiency of T680


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Truck News / March 26, 2014

Kenworth T680s ordered after May will deliver 5% better fuel economy than the same model did last year, the company announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

The company has been enhancing fuel economy through a number of measures, including powertrain optimization; the mating of the Paccar MX engine to the Eaton UltraShift Plus Advantage Series transmission; improved aerodynamics and more efficient drive axles. Most of the enhancements have already entered production, but the drive axles will come on line in May, Kevin Baney, chief engineer for Kenworth announced today. Aerodynamically, new T680 Advantage package includes: under bumper fairing, under chassis fairings, wheel covers, rear chassis fairings, a sleeper extender and upper fairing trim. That combination of specifications alone accounts for a 1% fuel economy improvement, Kenworth claims.

Kenworth’s two newest models, its T680 and T880, now account for about 50% of the truck maker’s sales.

New to Kenworth this year is a Driver Performance Assistant, brought over from Paccar’s European vehicles, which coaches a driver on coasting and braking behaviour, providing real-time tips so that drivers can improve their performance on the fly.

The system measures the rate of deceleration and offers feedback to the driver, providing them with a score for both coasting and braking. The system will be rolled out in the T680 and T880 in July, Baney said.

Also new is a factory-installed idle management system, available on the Kenworth T680. The battery-based cab comfort system can provide eight hours of air-conditioning and requires 4.5 hours to recharge.

On the medium-duty side, Kenworth said it’s completely redesigning its K270 and K370 cabover vehicles. The new designs will be brought from Europe and will enter production for this market this summer. The trucks have been completely redesigned, inside and out, Kenworth announced.

Kenworth is projecting a good year for truck sales. Gary Moore, Kenworth general manager and Paccar vice-president, said with Class 8 retail sales of 212,000 units in the US and Canada, 2013 turned out to be the fifth best year on record. Projecting between 210,000 and 240,000 Class 8 truck sales in the US and Canada this year, Moore said there’s the potential for 2014 to represent the third largest truck market in history.

Kenworth is pleased with where it currently sits, with 14.5% of Class 8 market share and 7.9% of the medium-duty market. Moore said the company is also pleased with the growing popularity of its Paccar MX13 engine; there are now 51,000 in service. The T880 vocational truck has proven popular as well, with 1,000 built since its launch last year and another 1,500 on order.

“The industry is healthy,” Moore said, noting the used truck market is strong, freight tonnage and fleet profitability are trending in a positive direction, and the average age of the Class 8 fleet sits at 6.5 years.

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